The Best Baseball Anime You Need to Watch

best baseball anime ace of diamond eijun
Credit: Yuji Terajima, Kodansha / "Ace of Diamond II" Production Committee, TV Tokyo

best baseball anime ace of diamond eijun
Credit: Yuji Terajima, Kodansha / "Ace of Diamond II" Production Committee, TV Tokyo

Baseball is America’s pastime, but it’s also arguably the most popular sport in Japan. Thus, it makes sense that there are lots of shows based on the sport. With that in mind, here are the best baseball anime that you need to watch.

As with most sports anime, the shows on this list are mostly adaptations of manga. While this list will feature their anime versions, the original manga titles are still very much worth reading if you can get your hands on them.

  1. Ace of Diamond – The Gold Standard

    Any discussion about baseball anime is incomplete without Ace of Diamond, the anime by Madhouse that debuted in October 2013.

    Since its premiere, the series has gotten over 100 episodes, and it has also become popular both in Japan and overseas. This is no surprise given that the source material is one of the best-selling sports manga of all time.

    This series follows Eijun Sawamura, a high school baseball player whose goal is to become his team’s ace. What gives Eijun an edge on the diamond is his pitching technique where the ball moves unpredictably.

    Aside from Eijun’s skills, the series is also compelling thanks to his rivalry with his teammate Satoru Furuya, a pitcher who specializes in fastballs. This makes the two opposites in terms of strengths.

  2. Oblivion Battery – MAPPA’s New Sports Series

    For anime fans who want a newer series, there’s the new MAPPA anime Oblivion Battery. This series premiered just last month, and it is based on an ongoing Shonen Jump+ manga of the same name.

    While the show’s animation already gives fans a good reason to watch the show, Oblivion Battery also has a fascinating story.

    Sure, it’s another high school baseball series, but what makes it stand out is the fact that the protagonist Kei Kaname has lost his memory heading into high school.

    There Kei is supported by his friend Haruka Kiyomine as they help form their new school’s baseball team into a winning club.

  3. Major – A Sprawling Baseball Tale

    If you’re looking for something that’s not just focused on high school baseball, Major is definitely a must-watch.

    This anime is another show based on a popular manga, but what sets it apart from the shows in this list is its sheer scale.

    Major follows the life of Goro Handa starting from his days in kindergarten as he picks up baseball until he goes to America and plays in Major League Baseball.

    Divided into six seasons and with over 150 episodes, Major is a sprawling work that features all levels of baseball, ranging from Little League to the world’s biggest baseball stage.

    Because of this, Major is an anime that’s a top recommendation for baseball aficionados who want a story that explores the sport at all levels.

  4. Big Windup! – Coming-of-Age on the Field

    Moving back to high school baseball, we have Big Windup!, an anime by A-1 Pictures that’s based on the Monthly Afternoon manga of the same name.

    Yes, the manga is serialized in the same magazine as Vinland Saga, Skip and Loafer, and Land of the Lustrous. This should already clue you in about this series’ more serious story.

    Even though it’s set in high school again, the show has a focus on personal drama. Its protagonist Ren Mihashi intended to quit baseball in high school after being blamed for his middle school team’s losses.

    In his new school though, he finds a supportive team and coach, giving him the confidence that he sorely lacked in his middle school days.

    Aside from exploring the sport, this series also has a coming-of-age element that can make for a moving watch for fans of the sport.

    RELATED: The Best Sports Manga of All Time

  5. One Outs – Psychological Baseball Action

    Want a baseball anime that goes wild? Then One Outs is a must-watch!

    This sports anime features suspense and psychological genre elements, not to mention that there’s even a gambling element to it.

    One Outs follows Toua Tokuchi, a pitcher and a prolific gambler. He soon finds himself in a professional team, but instead of a proper salary, he gets a special contract.

    Whenever Toua pitches an out, he earns five million yen, but if he gives up a run, that will cost him fifty million yen. Because of this, Toua is faced with incredible stakes every time he goes to the mound.

    This is far from the typical sports anime which focuses on teamwork and personal growth. Instead, this show is more akin to Kakegurui, making it a nice change of pace from other popular baseball anime.

  6. Princess Nine – An All-Girls Baseball Story

    Princess Nine is another unique baseball anime for many reasons. This show is the only one in this list that’s an anime original, with a manga only being released after the anime’s premiere.

    What’s more, this series follows a high school baseball team in an all-girls school. Leading the team is Ryo Hayakawa, the daughter of a former pitching star in Nippon Professional Baseball, Japan’s premier baseball league.

    It may be an older anime given that it aired in 1998, but Princess Nine’s story still holds up today. The fact that it’s an all-girls team also makes it unique given that most sports shows are all-boys teams.

  7. Cross Game – Sports Meets Romance

    Rounding out our list is Cross Game, an anime by SynergySP. This is another show that doesn’t play out like your usual sports anime.

    Instead, it follows Ko Kitamura and Aoba Tsukishima, two kids who grew up in families that are close to one another.

    Ko and Aoba aren’t exactly the best of friends at the start, though when Aoba’s sister Wakaba dies, the two set to fulfill Wakaba’s dream of playing in the high school baseball championship.

    Aside from the story which takes place over many years, the series is also unique as romance is a major part of it, with Ko and Aoba becoming closer to each other as the years go by.

    Thanks to its mix of sports, romance, and drama, Cross Game is worth seeing for baseball and romance anime fans.

Do you have other baseball anime picks that didn’t make this list? Let us know in the comments.

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